KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — In a turnaround, the Singapore government now states that it is still discussing the details of its planned contribution of some 100,000 Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine doses to Johor.
The remarks from Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) came after Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad told the state legislative assembly Monday that Singapore would be donating 100,640 Pfizer doses to the Johor state government, on top of 20,000 Sinovac doses contributed to the state last July.
Singapore’s MOH told Channel News Asia that neighbouring countries in the region were in need of Covid-19 vaccines, even as Singapore still has vaccine stock remaining after fully inoculating 81 per cent of its population as of September 7. Singapore’s MOH expects local demand for booster shots to pick up only early 2022.
“Given these considerations, it makes sense to channel vaccines to where they are needed most in our region, through donations and swap arrangements,” Singapore’s MOH was quoted saying.
“We are therefore working towards the donation of around 100,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Johor. The specific details of the donation are still being discussed with the relevant parties, including the pharmaceutical companies.”
Hasni told CodeBlue Tuesday that the Covid-19 vaccine donations from Singapore would be prioritised for Singaporeans in Johor. When CodeBlue asked about his decision to announce the donation from the Singapore government, Hasni simply said he had already spoken to Malaysian and Singaporean ministers when the contribution was decided.
In Hasni’s September 6 Facebook post, the menteri besar did not mention Singapore’s planned donation of 100,640 Pfizer doses to the state government, stating only that Johor has received contributions of 20,000 and 300,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) respectively.
Local media reported Hasni as saying Tuesday, however, that Singapore’s donation of 20,000 Sinovac doses was received on July 29, while 100,640 Pfizer doses from Singapore and 300,000 Sinopharm doses from UAE were incoming.